The Delusion of Inclusion (Continues)

Catchup No.8

First posted  on my Facebppk site 2 March ·

The Delusion of Inclusion (Continued)

My last posting referred to David Towell’s dependence on the box ticking exercise embedded in UN Declarations to provide justification for the King’s Fund Centre’s radical one-size fits -all ‘inclusion’ proposals. My posting concluded with reference to the nature and validity of support that was given to the KFC from the Independent Development Council for People with Mental Handicaps with the publication of: ‘Living like other people’ (1985)

Today, there is need to look at the background to ‘Living like other people’, published in April 1985 by the Independent Development Council (IDC) to understand how IDC came about.

The concepts of the IDC organization were usurped from the valuable work of the highly qualified and experienced team based at the Hester Adrian Research Centre, Manchester University, between 1968 -1982. The HARC had an incredible record of successful research projects including an intensive 5 years study (1972-1977), of day centres in England and Wales. The National Development Group with access to this wealth of expertise and experience were founded and based at the Hester Adrian Research Centre between 1975 – 1980 during which time it published NDG Pamphlet 5, the most successful source of support for positive progress in day care social history.

Following the disbandment of the National Development Group in 1980, the King’s Fund Centre under the leadership of its Fellow in Health Policy and Development, David Towell, seized the opportunity in 1981 to gather a group of reputable individuals and charitable organisations under the chairmanship of Brian Rix to create the Independent Development Council (IDC), which identified within its front cover the aims of the Council:

“To establish effective new means of providing informed and independent policy advice on all aspects of services for people with mental handicap and their families at national level, to build on the previous work of the National Development Group for the Mentally Handicapped, to offer strategic advice on the development and practical implementation of policies to relevant government departments and other concerned bodies. to offer advice on good practice and the local action necessary to introduce and sustain better services.”

So just how qualified within four years of its formation was the IDC able to have acquired the knowledge and skills to provide the range of services and assume the status formerly held by the National Development Group? The short answer that they were definitely not – for the IDC publication ‘Living like other people’ did not challenge but strongly reinforced the views expressed in the King’s Fund Project Paper No. 50. But this did not deter the King’s Fund Centre from recognizing its limitations, for the unquestioning support of all the major charitable organisations regardless of the irrationality of its proposals gave it unjustifiable credibility.

So began the 30 year process of misleading carers and the general public into the sense of false complacency that the wellbeing of their adult children was in good and capable hands – a process that has continued and is still continuing today. If I should seem cynical in believing that the King’s Fund Centre was manipulating the main charities under the chairmanship of Brian Rix, let me point out the following.

The HQ of the IDC was based at the HQ of the KFC, 5 members of the KFC, including its spokesman, David Towell, were on the IDC Council, and a member of the KFC staff was highly commended for her contribution to editing the contents of the IDC publication ‘Living like other people’ (1985).

Even so, the full extent of the damage that the KFC intervention could do has yet to be exposed by the unwelcome involvement of yet other irresponsible and misguided individuals and one particular organization.



Author: charlesahenley

Following a varied career starting with 4 years as a city office worker, 4 years service in the RAF both as ground staff ad flying duties, 16 years working for IBM Time systems division as a service engineer, a short spell as a production line supervisor, before returning as service manager to another US business machines corporation who had taken over IBM Time systems division in the UK. The nature of this work brought into contact with day centre establishments for people with learning disabilities and in 1966 when radical and progressive policies were awakening I changed career direction. In the years that followed I worked for five different authorities at centres ranging in size from 24 to 190 attendees of all levels of ability and saw remarkably progressive policies being introduced in the first 20 years for the benefit of the attendees and their carers. Sadly, as a consequence of local authorities gaining full control of policy implementation from 1990 onwards, service support went into a spiral of decline that has made debacle of the rational principles of care in the community. There is now a vital need to take responsibility for service implementation away from local authorities and the NHS and grant it to a single service agency under the direction of its own Minister. Without an urgent change of direction, the current dire situation can only worsen.

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